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CQC asks for extension to GP registration deadline

By Lilian Anekwe

The Care Quality Commission has asked ministers to rewrite legislation in order to extend next April's deadline for the registration of GP practices, Pulse can confirm.

The regulator is due to register all GP practices by 1 April 2012, but has approached the Department of Health to ask for the deadline to be put back, to allow them ‘more opportunity to embed compliance monitoring in the sectors we already regulate, and to ensure registration is more closely aligned with accreditation schemes'.

Last week the CQC revealed it had proposed a series of amendments to its plans to register GP practices to the Department of Health, but repeatedly denied that the deadline would be moved back.

But a DH spokesperson told Pulse today that the regulator has requested changes to the timescale for GP practice registration as part of the amendments submitted. Ministers are now considering the proposals, and whether any changes are necesssary and feasible.

The timeline for the CQC to register practices for compliance is set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2008, and its associated legislation on regulated activities, which were enshrined in law in 2010. Any changes to the deadline would therefore require the DH to run a formal consultation and would need to be debated in Parliament.

The CQC's plea for an extension to the deadline comes after Pulse revealed in April that GPs faced ‘severe stress' and up to 90 hours of preparatory work to meet regulatory requirements.

The British Dental Association, whose members were supposed to have been registered by this April, said the process for dentists had been ‘shambolic' and 'fraught with delays', and had ‘lurched from one crisis to another'.

The CQC was unable to comment but plans to release a further statement later this week.

GP practices will have to register compliance with CQC standards